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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do I file my case?

    There are three judicial districts in Oklahoma. Your county of residence or the location of the principal assets of a business (for the greatest part of the 180 days prior to filing) determines the district in which you should file. The U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma serves 11 counties. Please see the county map on the Clerk's Office website for the counties covered by the Northern District of Oklahoma:

    Oklahoma Northern District County Map

  • I am married. If I file bankruptcy, does my spouse have to file too?

    No. Married individuals can choose to file a joint petition, or one spouse can file alone. However, information about assets and wages of the non-filing spouse must appear in your statements and schedules to give a complete picture of your financial situation even if only one spouse files bankruptcy.

  • What is a joint petition?

    A joint petition is a bankruptcy petition filed by a married couple together.

  • Which chapter should I file?

    Clerk's office staff cannot give "legal advice" or "practice law" as they are prohibited under Title 28 U.S.C. Section 955. Bankruptcy Basics information at the following link may assist you:

    http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics

  • What are the different "Chapters"; in bankruptcy?
    • Chapter 7 may be filed by an individual, a corporation, or a partnership. A Chapter 7 case may be referred to as a "Fresh Start," "Liquidation," or "Straight Bankruptcy." In Chapter 7, federal and/or state laws allow the individual debtor to claim certain property as exempt. A Chapter 7 Trustee is then appointed to collect and sell all property that is not exempt or mortgaged, and use the sale proceeds to pay creditors. An individual debtor can get a discharge for most or all of their debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Corporations and partnerships do not receive a discharge. A discharge releases individual debtors from personal liability for some debts, and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any collection actions against the debtor.

      The chapters outlined below require the confirmation of a plan of reorganization or liquidation. Individuals seeking to file under Chapter 11, 12, or 13 are cautioned that it is extremely difficult to obtain confirmation of a plan without an attorney.

    • Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code provides for reorganization of municipalities (which includes cities, towns, villages, counties, taxing districts, municipal utilities, and school districts).
    • Chapter 11 is the reorganization chapter frequently involving a corporation or partnership, but can also be an individual. A Chapter 11 debtor proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.
    • Chapter 12 is for use by "family farmers" or "family fishermen" with "regular annual income." It enables financially distressed family farmers or fishermen to propose and carry out a plan, which must be approved by the court, to repay all or part of their debts. A certain portion of the Chapter 12 debtor's income must come from the operation of a farming or fishing business. In Chapter 12, a trustee receives the plan payments and also monitors the debtor's farming business operations while the case is pending. Once the plan payments are complete, the Chapter 12 debtor receives a discharge of some debts.
    • Chapter 13 is the debt repayment chapter for individuals with regular income, which may be referred to as a "wage earner's plan." Corporations and partnerships cannot file under Chapter 13. Chapter 13 generally allows a debtor to keep property and pay debts over time, usually three to five years. A Chapter 13 debtor proposes a repayment plan, which must be approved by the court. The plan payments are made to the Chapter 13 trustee, who distributes the funds to creditors. Once the plan payments are complete, Chapter 13 debtors receive a discharge of some debts.
  • Can you help me complete the bankruptcy forms?

    Clerk's Office staff may assist with procedural matters only. They are prohibited from assisting with the completion of any forms because this is comparable to giving legal advice. Clerk's Office staff is prohibited from giving legal advice by law.

    While it is possible to file a bankruptcy case without an attorney (pro se), it is a difficult thing to do successfully. We recommend getting assistance from a competent bankruptcy attorney.

  • Can you recommend a good bankruptcy attorney?

    Clerk's Office staff is prohibited from recommending specific attorneys. The Tulsa County Bar Association is a good source for finding a qualified attorney to help you with your bankruptcy needs. The phone number for the Tulsa County Bar Association is 918-584-5243. Their website is as follows:

    www.tulsabar.com

  • What happens when I file bankruptcy?

    Shortly after the petition is filed, the U. S. Trustee appoints a trustee and the court will issue a "Notice of Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors & Deadlines." This notice, also known as the "341 Notice," is sent to all creditors in the case and contains the following information:

    • Debtor's name
    • Date, time, and location of the first meeting of creditors (also known as the "341 meeting").
    • Deadline to file a complaint objecting to discharge or dischargeability of debts (if applicable).
    • Deadline to object to exemptions.

      Please read this notice carefully!

  • May I file without an attorney?

    While it is possible to file a bankruptcy case pro se (without an attorney) it is a difficult thing to do successfully. We recommend getting assistance from a competent bankruptcy attorney. All Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedures and Local Rules must be followed.

  • I can't afford an attorney. What should I do?

    If you cannot afford an attorney, the following links to legal assistance agencies and referral services may help you:

    Find an Attorney

    The Oklahoma Bar Association has information and links for individuals who may qualify for low cost or no cost legal assistance.

    https://www.okbar.org/legalresources/

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